A vacation can be a very telling microcosm of what life with someone will be like. To some of us, a vacation might even be more important than even the day-to-day life of living with someone. Imagine dating someone for two years before you realize that you hate going on vacation with them. A vacation is supposed to be a respite from the everyday toil of work and stress. Can you really be with someone that ruins that for you?
So when you take a trip with your significant other for the first time, it’s useful to use that experience as a barometer. Here are some things to ask yourself on your first trip together.
1. Do you fight?
Sure, all couples have disagreements from time to time. And occasionally, that’s bound to happen on a trip. But pay close attention. Most situations that can cause tension on a vacation are usually outside of your control. Do you find you and your partner blaming each other for the weather or an unpleasant experience on a tour? That can tell you a lot about what the future holds for you, none of it good.
2. If you fight, how do you deal with it?
While some arguments are inevitable, it’s important to make a mental note of how you deal with those disagreements, especially on vacation. If you have to spend half of your trip putting up with someone’s bad mood or giving them the silent treatment, do you really want to repeat that experience in the future? A trip challenges your ability to put your own ego and temper aside and say, “I disagree, but I still love you. So let’s just have a good time.” If you find yourself unable to do that, that’s a red flag. And if you think I’m putting too much weight on that, consider the fact that if you can’t get past a simple disagreement while you’re on a beach in Greece, could you get past it on your wedding day?
3. Do you enjoy the same things?
Despite conventional wisdom that opposites attract, people actually prefer partners that are similar to them. It’s nice to switch up the usual and date someone who will broaden your horizons, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to date (or go on vacation with) someone who is a polar opposite of you. Though there are ways to ameliorate the situation, sometimes it’s hopeless. What if all you want to do is go out and see the city, and all they want to do is stay at the hotel pool? That’s eventually going to get grating on your vacation. And it’s eventually going to get grating in real life, when you realize that you essentially have to lead separate lives to really enjoy yourselves.
4. Can you compromise if you don’t?
Naturally, two people are not always going to agree on everything. So what happens when you don’t? This can also tell you a lot about your relationship dynamic. If your partner becomes a brat when they don’t get their way, you have to assume this is how they’ll react to a lot of things in life. Similarly, if you don’t feel the need to compromise so that your partner can enjoy that museum you don’t really care about, then you have to ask yourself, do you really care about this person’s happiness? And if you don’t, why are you with them? Or worse, are you that intolerable selfish brat?
5. Is it fun?
I’m of the belief that if a relationship isn’t fun, then what’s the point? Even if you’re compatible on paper, if spending a week straight with them isn’t a blast, take that as a sign. As a general rule, if at any point you start to think that the trip would be more fun without that person or with your friends, then your relationship isn’t serving its purpose: to add joy, happiness, and enjoyment to your life.
Vacations are like sex. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to my wedding night to realize someone sucks at it. And I certainly don’t want to get to my honeymoon and realize they suck at that.
If you’re lucky, your first vacation together will make you see that taking a trip with them is freaking awesome. You have great experiences, great conversations, great sex, and they can crack you up during the most frustrating parts of travel. Then you know you got a keeper.